Beginning September 2017, this website page will feature articles from the mainstream and alternative media in Canada. The goal is to provide an overview of the large trends in Canadian political economy. Text in square brackets [ ] is by Roger Annis. The most recent entries are at top of the list. Feature articles on politics in Canada by Roger Annis are listed in the website category Canada-politics and social issues.
War, cholera, lack of food are pushing Yemen to the brink, by Michelle Shephard, national security reporter, Toronto Star (page one), Nov 18, 2017
… The heads of three UN agencies — World Food Program, UNICEF and the World Health Organization — issued a joint statement on November 16 saying seven million Yemenis, mainly children, are on the brink of famine…
[While the Canadian government, its broadcasting arm the CBC, and the Globe and Mail daily newspaper ramp up the rhetoric and threats against Russia and Venezuela with a ‘Magnitsky Act’ law, Canadian ally Saudi Arabia is destroying an entire nation of Yemen. Even a commendable article such as this one in the Toronto Star softens the treatment of Saudi Arabia by calling the war in Yemen “an apparent proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran”.]
Religion is still an instrument of colonialism, by Zainab Amadahy and Azeezah Kanji, op-ed commentary in Toronto Star, Nov. 15, 2017
Anti-Russia witch-hunt intensifies in Canada, feature article attacking the polyglot website project Global Research, by Steven Chase and Mark MacKinnon, in the Globe and Mail national daily, Nov 18, 2017. Original headline: NATO research centre sets sights on Canadian website over pro-Russia disinformation.
… The site has disseminated articles that claimed the Assad regime was not behind the April chemical weapon attack that drew a punitive U.S. missile strike, also suggesting it was a hoax and that the deadly nerve agent sarin was not used.
… In the case of the April 4  sarin-gas attack on the rebel-held Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed more than 80 people – and which sparked U.S. President Donald Trump to order a cruise-missile strike on the Syrian air base from which the attack was launched – globalresearch.ca was among the first to carry a story that claimed the Syrian regime was innocent of the attack
* ‘Fictitious probe, baseless accusations’: Russia blocks new extension of Syria chemical inquiry at UN Security Council, news compilation on New Cold War.org, Nov 17, 2017
* Did Al Qaeda dupe Trump on alleged Syrian sarin gas attack on April 4, 2017?, by Robert Parry, Consortium News, Nov 9, 2017
* America’s righteous Russia-gate censorship, by Robert Parry, Consortium News, Nov 14, 2017 (with extensive, related readings). For an extensive compilation of the writings of Consortium News editor and publisher Robert Parry, see the author page on New Cold War.org containing a selection of his writings from Consortium News.
* How Stephen F. Cohen became the most controversial Russia expert in America, by Jordan Michael Smith, published in Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov 15, 2017
* Defending RT America against new cold war censorship, by Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report, Nov 16, 2017 (and in the same posting on New Cold War.org: U.S. politics even more conservative under Trump, but not for the reasons expected, by Danny Haiphong, contributor, Black Agenda Report, Nov 15, 2017
* Simpler explanations are usually correct, even on Russia, by Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg News, Nov 15, 2017* U.S. votes against UN resolution condemning Nazi glorification, allies abstain, by Associated Press, Nov 16, 2017 (with extensive, related documentation in the posting of this item on New Cold War.org)
Hundreds of millions of penalties issued by B.C. Securities Commission going unpaid, by Gordon Hoekstra, Vancouver Sun, Nov 17, 2017
[You’re a corporate criminal looting people’s investment and retirement funds? No problem! Welcome to British Columbia, Canada! Vancovuer Sun writer Gordon Hoekstra explains:]
… Michael Lathigee and Earle Pasquill… are among more than 80 fraudsters who have harmed thousands of investors — in B.C., other parts of Canada, the United States and as far away as Switzerland — yet have escaped paying the largest penalties issued by the [B.C. Securities Commission], an investigation by Postmedia News has found.
From fiscal 2007-08 to 2016-17, the B.C. Securities Commission has collected less than two per cent of $510 million in fines and orders to pay back the proceeds of fraudulent activities, according to the commission’s financial reports and other records. For the biggest fines, handed out for the most egregious violations and frauds, such as those for Lathigee and Pasquill, the collection rate is far worse.
On human rights and climate change, Justin Trudeau’s actions don’t match his talk, by Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, Nov 14, 2017
… The former Conservative government of Stephen Harper came up with a plan to phase out most coal-fired generation. The Trudeau government accelerated it. Ontario has closed its coal-fired plants and Alberta has promised to do the same. But Canada is not phasing out coal.
First, the federal government plans to exempt coal-fired generating plants that are able to reduce their emissions significantly through new technologies, such as carbon capture and storage. This is perilously close to the notion of clean coal that Trump is mocked for discussing.
Second, Canada continues to mine and export coal for other countries to burn. In 2015, it exported more than 30 million tonnes, mainly to Asian steelmaking plants.
All of which is to say that [Environment Minister Catherine] McKenna’s crusade against coal, while welcome, isn’t exactly as advertised…
In 2015, then-BC Premier Christy Clark met, encouraged tycoons in Hong Kong fueling Vancouver’s house price bubble, but she lied to the BC public about her doings, report in Vancouver Sun, Nov 14, 2017
… Back at home, meantime, public complaints about housing affordability in B.C. was so intense that Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson had released a letter urging Clark to take extraordinary tax measures to cool speculation in the market. Clark’s response said there was no reason to tax luxury housing because Finance Ministry data suggested little evidence that foreign investors made up a significant portion of the market.
However, notes for Wat’s 2015 Asia trade mission show a different “master narrative” for internal use only… The notes say potential Asian investors were to be told that, “the government’s willingness to permit a foreigner to own a significant portion of Vancouver … marked a significant turning point in the city’s development.”…
Amid booming economy, homelessness soars on U.S. West Coast, by Gillian Flaccus and Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press, Nov 9, 2017
Affordability crisis worsens homelessness in Vancouver, Canada, by Cheryl Chan, Vancouver Sun, Sept 26, 2017
… Across Metro Vancouver, the number of homeless people jumped by 30 per cent to 3,605 people compared with the year 2014. That’s the highest since 2002 when the homeless counts started. About half of the homeless who participated in the anonymous survey identified high rents and lack of income as the main barriers to housing. Addiction and mental illness were also factors, with 82 per cent of people dealing with at least one health condition.
At least 70 homeless people have died in Toronto in the first 9 months of 2017, by Muriel Draaisma, CBC News, Oct 30, 2017
Ontario government lied for decades, saying it didn’t know about mercury poisoning of Grassy Narrows First Nation, by David Bruser, news reporter, and Jayme Poisson, investigative reporter, Toronto Star, Nov. 11, 2017
Will Ottawa take up the legal fight against Quebec’s face-covering ban?, by Chantal Hébert, columnist, Toronto Star, Nov 11, 2017
Discovering my mother’s secret and my Métis family’s heroism, by Dana Robbins, special to Toronto Star, Nov 11, 2017
Great-aunt’s action in Battle of Fish Creek during the Métis rebellion of 1884-85 and Métis family heritage was a family burden but later a lesson for Canadian reconciliation
Canadian governments’ history of facilitating offshore tax havens, analysis by Marco Oved, Toronto Star, Nov 10, 2017
… Offshore tax havens were born decades ago, in an era when currency controls and restricted trade ruled the global economy. Then tariff barriers came down, globalization gathered speed and tax havens grew from a cottage industry for a few currency traders into fortified fortresses for family fortunes and multinational profits.
How the Paradise Papers leak unfolded at the Toronto Star, by Kenyon Wallace, news reporter, Toronto Star, Nov. 10, 2017
It was early one morning in January 2017 and the phone on Toronto Star reporter Rob Cribb’s desk rang. It was Marina Walker Guevara, deputy director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. “There’s been another leak,” she said. “I think you’re going to be very interested. There are a lot of prominent Canadian names. Can you come to Munich for a meeting?”
And with that, the Toronto Star’s involvement began with the Paradise Papers, which, like the Panama Papers in 2015, are a trove of leaked electronic records revealing the ways many of the wealthiest people and companies in the world stash money in tax-free offshore investments…
Number of deadly overdoses in British Columbia passes 1,100 for 2017, CBC News, Nov 9, 2017
The BC Coroners Service says more than 1,100 British Columbians died due to a suspected illicit drug overdose [poisoning] in the first nine months of the year, with most happening in the days immediately following welfare payments. On November 9, the service reported there were 80 suspected deaths in September — up 31 per cent from the same month last year. That brings the total for the year up to 1,103, far surpassing the 922 in all of 2016…
[The rate of drug poisonings in British Columbia is approximately equal to that of the United States. In 2015, the U.S. state with the least overdose deaths was Nebraska, with 6.9 deaths per 100,000; the state with the most was West Virginia, with 41.5 overdose deaths per 100,000 (source). BC’s rate for 2017 is headed for 32 deaths per 100,000; in 2015, it was 11 per 100,000.]
Canada: ‘Every single year, we’ve seen an increase in Aboriginal prison rate’”, by Tamara Khandaker, VICE News, March 16, 2017
Over the past decade, the percentage of Indigenous and black inmates in Canadian prisons has risen dramatically, even as the population of white inmates has dropped, according to the latest figures from the office of the correctional investigator…
While Indigenous people make up less than five per cent of the Canadian population, they make up 25 percent of the total inmate population. Just three percent of the population is black, yet they’re 10 per cent of the prison population…
Student calls for return of Louis Riel’s walking stick to Métis, National Post, Nov 2, 2017
Related: Petition calls for return of Louis Riel’s walking stick to Métis people, Winnipeg Free Press, Oct 31, 2017
Review of ‘Ste C’ hydroelectric dam boondoggle in northern BC says alternative energies are a better choice, CBC News, Nov 1, 2017
[A review by the BC Utilities Commission which the preceding Liberal Party government had bypassed in commencing construction of the $10 billion-plus Site C dam on the Peace River in northern British Columbia warns that the economics of the dam are dubious.
[The ‘Muscrat Falls’ dam project in Labrador is on every analysts’ mind–that project has come in at $13 billion–more than double its estimated cost–and now condemns future generations of residents of Newfoundland and Labrador to huge electricity price hikes.
[The unspoken story of Site C is how it was planned to fuel natural gas fracking and liquefaction as well as mining projects in northern BC; if all else failed, Site C electricity would be sold to Alberta to power tar sands extraction.]
Columbia River Treaty interesting option as NDP ponders Site C, by Vaughn Palmer, columnist, Vancouver Sun, Nov 3, 2017
Why BC Liberals blocked usual independent review for Site C, by Zoë Ducklow, The Tyee, April 10, 2017 Politicians wanted to avoid tough questions about need for project, future costs, critics say
Alberta NDP premier Rachel Notley undertakes national speaking tour on behalf of fossil fuel industry, Globe and Mail, Nov 7, 2017
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley will embark on a speaking tour this month to ask Canadians to gather national support for a new pipeline project, in an effort to neutralize a sustained political attack from a United Conservative Party energized by the recent crowning of Jason Kenney.
Her visits to Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver come as the Alberta government is looking increasingly cornered in its quest to get one project constructed from Alberta to a coast. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the West Coast has stalled amid a ferocious jurisdictional dispute with pipeline opponents in British Columbia, while TransCanada Corp. cancelled its plans for the $15.7-billion Energy East pipeline from Alberta to the Atlantic last month…
Two years into her term as premier, Ms. Notley’s tone on energy development has become harder – even in relation to those in her own party. She said in Question Period on November 6 that federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s position against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is “dead wrong.”
“But just as important, he is irrelevant,” she said…
Related: Pipeline opposition in British Columbia animates right-wing protest against Alberta’s NDP gov’t, column by Gary Mason, Globe and Mail, Nov 6, 2017
Why BC needs a public inquiry into natural gas fracking, op-ed by Ben Parfitt, The Tyee, Nov 7, 2017 (also appearing in the Vancouver Sun)
Last year, more natural gas was produced in British Columbia than at any point in the past 10 years. That may come as a surprise to some people who thought growth in B.C.’s natural gas industry hinged on the emergence of a liquified natural gas sector. It does not. The reality is that even without a much-hyped LNG industry, natural gas production in B.C. increased 70 per cent over the past decade, with major customers, including Alberta’s tar sands industry, fuelling that growth…
Related: Public inquiry needed to properly investigate deep social and environmental harms of fracking, coalition says, press release issued Nov 6, 2017
With all Quebec parties supporting an anti-Muslim face-covering ban, Quebec voters face few options,
CBC News, Nov 7, 2017
… Québec Solidaire, the left-leaning party that has just three seats in the National Assembly, said it would not go as far as the Liberals did in their legislation, but it would maintain some restrictions on religious face-covering. Co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said his party would keep the ban for all public servants but would only require members of the public to unveil when it is necessary to identify them or for security purposes.
Related: Quebec’s face-covering law heads for constitutional challenge, CBC News, Nov 7, 2017
Indigenous youth who use drugs in British Columbia are dying at 13 times the rate of Caucasian counterparts, CBC News, Nov 6, 2017
… The report is an analysis of data collected between 2003 and 2014. Of the 610 young people followed during that time, 40 of them died. [But Canada’s foreign minister wants to talk about Russia and Venezuela.]
Indigenous child welfare rates creating ‘humanitarian crisis’ in Canada, says federal minister, CBC News, Nov 2, 2017
The disproportionate number of Indigenous children currently in the child welfare system has created a “humanitarian crisis” in the country, says Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott…
Philpott said in Manitoba, there are a total of 11,000 children in care and 10,000 are Indigenous children. Statistics Canada census data released last week revealed 4,300 Indigenous children under the age of four are currently in foster care. “This is very much reminiscent of the residential school system where children are being scooped up from their homes, taken away from their family and we will pay the price for this for generations to come,” she said…
[The new-found zeal of Canada’s government to recognize its past crimes against First Nations people might led Minister Jane Philpot to do something about the ongoing desecration of the gravesites of at least 74 Indigenous children who died after they were stolen from their families and forced to attend the Battleford Industrial School in Saskatchewan at the turn of the 20th century. Earlier, in 1974, the cemetery site was excavated by the Department of Archeology at the University of Saskatchewan.]
Canada, human rights hypocrite, uses its new ‘Magnitsky’ law to hit Russia and Venezuela with increased sanctions, report on CBC News, Nov 3, 2017
[Fifty two individuals from Russia, Venezuela and South Sudan are named by Canada for sanctions. The state-run broadcaster, CBC, dances in tune to the federal government action, calling the death of Sergei Magnitisky, a financial investment accountant, in a Russian prison in 2009 a “murder”. It sub-headlines its news article ‘Venezuela’s corrupt ruling clique’ and writes “Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro and many of his senior officials were already sanctioned by Canada on Sept. 22 for their role in gutting democracy and rule of law in the country.”
[Canada’s mainstream as well as alternative media has been deaf, dumb and blind in failing to report the fraudulent, anti-Russia crusade of financier Bill Browder, who has spearheaded the drive for adoption of ‘Magnitsky Act’ sanctions against Russia in the U.S., UK and Canada (not coincidentally, the three NATO countries with troops in Ukraine.) He renounced his U.S.citizenship in 2008 in order to avoid paying taxes and lives in the UK. His story is told in lengthy report by the 100 Reporters media project in the United States and also in the 2016 film, The Magnitsky Act: Behind The Scenes. (See: Mainstream media in U.S. and Canada caught out as U.S. reporting project sheds unfavourable light on UK citizen financier and campaigner Bill Browder, by Roger Annis, Oct 27, 2017.]
Canada’s party line on Venezuela.
[The Toronto Star‘s Washington reporter, Daniel Dale, writes timely and insightful reports critical of President Donald Trump (Canada’s closest ally in the world). But Dale provides a recent example of the degree to which mainstream media in Canada chooses to parrot the drive by the Canadian and U.S. governments against Venezuela’s socialist revolution. In a November 3 article highlighting Trump’s performance, Dale writes, “He sounded like an autocrat, scarcely different than repressive leaders from Turkey to Venezuela.”
[Amanda Conolly of iPolitics writes on November 3 about Canada’s heightened sanctions against leaders of the Venezuelan government: “The sanctions against the 19 individuals from Venezuela are in response to acts of significant corruption and human rights violations which continue amid efforts by Maduro in recent months to consolidate his power and restrict democracy.”
[The state-run CBC sub-headlines a Nov 2 news article ‘Venezuela’s corrupt ruling clique’ and writes “Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro and many of his senior officials were already sanctioned by Canada on Sept. 22 for their role in gutting democracy and rule of law in the country.”
[Anti-Venezuela and anti-Russia propaganda has so infected the body politic of Canada–from newspaper editors to journalists to members of Parliament–that stricken sufferers have lost their sense of what it is to be healthy. On every foreign policy issue that matters, they parrot the line of Donald Trump and the rest of the U.S. corporate establishment.]
Globe and Mail’s lead U.S. reporter calls Oct 31 truck attack in New York the ‘first major terrorist attack’ during the Donald Trump presidency; the white guy who killed 58 people in Las Vegas on October 1 gets a pass, report in Globe and Mail, Nov 3, 2017
When an alleged Islamic State sympathizer drove a truck down a bike lane in Manhattan and killed eight people [on October 31], it presented a test for Donald Trump: How would he respond to the first major terrorist attack in the U.S. of his presidency? …
Retiring Supreme Court judge Beverley McLachlin misses the mark with sexual-assault comments, op-ed commentary by David Butt, Globe and Mail, Oct 31, 2017
Statement of the third meeting of the Lima Group on the situation in Venezuela, published on the website of the Government of Canada, October 26, 2017
The foreign ministers and representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay and Peru gathered in Toronto on October 26, 2017, to continue their evaluation of the situation in Venezuela…
Accusations of sexual assault and suspensions of prison guards at maximum security Edmonton Institution for Women, CBC News, Oct 31, 2017
Ten years later, two perjuring RCMP who killed Polish visitor Robert Dziekanski at Vancouver airport lose final appeal, will do time, report on CBC News, Oct 30, 2017
Meanwhile: No charges in mentally ill man’s death at Lindsay jail, by Fatima Syed, Toronto Star, Oct 30, 2017 Family continues to demand answers in December 2016 death of Soleiman Faqiri
What’s the next big thing after oil for Alberta?, by Gillian Steward, columnist, Toronto Star, Oct 30, 2017 While private industry is looking to the tech sector to create new jobs, none of the political parties has a plan that replaces lost oil revenue.
Five dead in nine hours from drug poisoning in Vancouver region city of Abbotsford, CBC News, Oct 28, 2017 Background: B.C.’s response to overdose deaths is nothing but criminally inadequate, by Travis Lupick, Georgia Straight, Aug 31, 2016
Canada stands back in northern Iraq, suspends military assistance to Kurds, as clashes take place between Iraqi and Kurdish armed forces, report by Bruce Campion-Smith, Toronto Star, Oct 27, 2017 [It’s the old game of ‘divide and rule’: provide weapons to the Kurds but stand back when they come under attack from NATO-member Turkey or the U.S.-allied government in Baghdad.]
* Canadian military reviewing whether to continue providing weapons to Kurds, report by David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen, Oct 25, 2017
* ‘Total destruction’ of Raqqa, Syria by U.S./Kurdish operation against the city, news compilation on New Cold War.org, Oct 25, 2017
Irving Oil ordered to pay $4M for offences related to Lac Mégantic disaster, by Sarah Petz , CBC News, Oct 26, 2017 Company pleaded guilty to 34 counts under the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act [Ever wonder how much corporate Canada would measure the lives of Canadians in dollar terms? Now you know: $4 million divided by 47 killed at Lac Mégantic on July 6, 2014=$85,000 each.]
Liberals say there is ‘no plan’ to change law to protect pensioners in wake of Sears’ bankruptcy, CBC News, Oct 25, 2017
Once again, employee pensions threatened after corporate owners plunder then shut down a company, in this case Sears Canada department store chain, report on CBC Radio One’s ‘The Current’, Sept 26, 2017 (listen to the 21-minute broadcast by clicking here)
Puerto Rico of the north? Churchill, Manitoba will be warm this winter thanks to propane gas delivery by ship, but its future worries locals, report on CBC News, Oct 16, 2017 Rail cars shipped out by sea is a sign to residents the land line from Hudson Bay town to Winnipeg remains closed for winter
Northern Manitoba town of Churchill is isolated and ‘feels held hostage’ after U.S. owner decides not to repair rail line, report by Catherine Porter, on New York Times, Aug 30, 2017
Timeline: Two decades of turmoil at the Port of Churchill, on CBC Radio One’s ‘Now Or Never’ program, Oct 21, 2017
Ottawa pays $31.3 million to three Canadian men tortured in Syria in 2001-03, CBC News, Oct 26, 2017 2008 inquiry found the actions of Canadian officials contributed indirectly to the torture of 3 men
Key highlights from latest release of 2016 census data, The Canadian Press, Oct 25, 2017 Share of immigrants in Canada has reached its highest level in almost a century
… The census counted 1.67 million Indigenous people in Canada in 2016, accounting for 4.9 per cent of the total population — up from 3.8 per cent in 2006 for a growth rate of 42.5 per cent over the last 10 years, four times the rate of the non-Indigenous population. The average age of the Indigenous population was 32.1 years, nearly a decade younger than the non-Indigenous population at 40.9 years. The census counted 145,645 children aged 0-4, 8.7 per cent of Aboriginal people in Canada. One in five Indigenous people in Canada is living in a dwelling that needs “major repairs,” while one in 10 lives in a household that has a space shortfall of at least one bedroom…
Highlights from latest report on Canadian income levels (Census 2016), The Canadian Press, Sept 13, 2017
Census 2016: Toronto housing affordability now worse than Vancouver, Globe and Mail, Oct 25, 2017
NDP gov’t in British Columbia unveils new climate policy advisory council, by Simon Little and Liza Yuzda, CKNW News, Oct 24, 2017
[Following Premier John Horgan’s tour to northwest BC on October 21 promoting natural gas fracking and liquefying for export, his government has appointed a 22-member, environmental advisory council. It will meet quarterly and be co-chaired by Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada, and Marcia Smith, a senior vice-president with Teck Resources. Clean Energy Canada is based at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and promotes green capitalist solutions to the climate crisis–electric automobiles, replacing the grossly excessive production of energy by fossil fuels with grossly excessive production of energy by ‘renewable’ sources such as wind and energy, etc. Teck Resources is Canada’s largest coal extraction company.
[The previous Liberal Party government in BC also appointed a environmental advisory council. It issued a report in October 2015 with 32 recommendations, all of which were ignored by the government. Some members of the ‘team’ went public with its disappointments in May 2016. For a time, the government’s ‘Climate Leadership Team’ served a useful public relations role, including convincing ‘environmentalists’ to join it.]
Fraser Valley homeless population grows faster than Vancouver’s, by Justin McElroy, CBC News, Oct 13, 2017
Deadly Lac-Mégantic oil train disaster was avoidable corporate crime, by Justin Mikulka, Desmog Blog, Oct 24, 2017
Damning new testimony from an engineer of the locomotive involved in the deadly 2013 oil train disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Canada, reveals several ways corporate cost-cutting directly led to the accident, which claimed 47 lives…
Ontario’s environmental watchdog blasts province for inaction on ‘outrageous’ pollution in Indigenous communities, by Emma McIntosh, Toronto Star, Oct 24, 2017
The Ontario government has, for decades, turned a blind eye to “outrageous” pollution causing serious health effects in Indigenous communities, the province’s environment watchdog reported on October 24…
Anti-pipeline Gitxsan First Nation angry over BC government’s deal with unelected band chiefs for liquefied nattural gas project in Kitimat, by George Baker, Andrew Kurjata, CBC News, Oct 20, 2016
Members of the Gitxsan First Nation opposed to pipeline development are outraged that nine unelected hereditary chiefs are working on a deal with the province connected to a natural gas pipeline on B.C.’s north coast. The documents were leaked and posted online, prompting an emergency meeting to discuss next steps…
BC gov’t supports LNG project on north coast, by Brent Jang, Globe and Mail, Oct 22, 2017
[Shell’s ‘LNG Canada’ industrial plant in Kitimat would be fed by boosting natural gas fracking in the northeast of the province and constructing a 900 kilometer gas pipeline to the Pacific Ocean coast. A string of LNG projects for BC have been cancelled due to international economic conditions, but the NDP’s love of gas fracking, shared with the previous Liberal Party government, is undeterred. The Green Party opposes LNG but supported a now-dead, bizarre plan to build a tar sands pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat to then feed a multi-billion dollar refinery.]
Assembly of First Nations reveals it ceased cooperation with federal government on changes to ‘First Nations consultation on natural resource projects, APTN News, Oct 19, 2017
Related: First Nations leaders break with Ottawa on environmental policy, by Shawn McCarthy, Globe and Mail, Oct. 19, 2017
Quebec ban on face coverings a blatant violation of religious freedom, op-ed commentary by David Butt, Globe and Mail, Oct 19, 2017 (David Butt is a criminal lawyer in Toronto and reglar contributor to the G&M)
With Halloween imminent, people turn their thoughts to the good-natured duplicity of costumes. But there is a much darker duplicity afoot as well. Under the mask of pursuing “social cohesion”, the Quebec legislature has passed a bill [Bill 62, approved on Oct 18, 2017] denying women the right to receive public services while wearing a veil for religious reasons. The law is a blatant violation of religious freedom guaranteed by the Charter of Rights…
Related: Words fail Trudeau in response to Quebec’s ban on face coverings, by Campbell Clark, columnist, Globe and Mail, Oct 20, 2017
Anatomy of a witchhunt in Toronto in early 2017 against a Muslim cleric, page one feature article by Jenifer Yang, Toronto Star, Oct 22, 2017
Muslim women respond to Quebec’s Bill 62, interviews with three women of Muslim faith from Quebec, on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’, Oct 20, 2017
Background: What Europe should learn from Turkey’s headscarf fight, by Nil Köksal, CBC News, March 15, 2017
BC NDP gov’t sticks with ‘bizarre’ first-time homebuyer program that fuels house price bubble, by Andrew MacLeod, The Tyee, Oct 19, 2017
Quebec bans face covering in public services, raising worries among Muslims, by Ingrid Peretz, Globe and Mail, Wednesday, Oct 18, 2017
[Bill 62 was approved by a majority of the Quebec National Assembly on October 18, 2017. The law was proposed by the Liberal Party government. Voting against the law were the two right-wing parties in the National Assembly, saying it was not harsh enough, and the left-wing Québec solidaire party. The latter agrees, in principle, with the need for a law to regulate ‘secularism’ in government services but says the government has failed to simultaneously address social and human rights discrimination against national and religious minorities.
[Two attempts by previous governments in Quebec to legislate ‘secularism’ in the public domain failed in recent years. A 2010 attempt by a Liberal Party government died after two years. Then came a highly controversial ‘Charter of Values’ (Wikipedia) proposal by a minority Parti québécois government in 2013 that would ban teachers, doctors and other public workers from wearing highly visible religious symbols and had similar face covering restrictions as Bill 62. That government was defeated by the Liberals in a 2014 election.
[On January 29 of 2017, a 27 year old university student shot dead six men while they were attending prayers at a mosque in Quebec City.]
Quebec’s niqab ban: Muslim women are an easy political target, commentary by Idil Issa, Globe and Mail, Oct 18, 2017
With Bill 62, Quebec attacks religious freedom, editorial, Globe and Mail, Oct 18, 2017
Quebec set to pass Bill 62 banning face coverings for anyone receiving public service — even a bus ride, by Benjamin Shingler, CBC News, Oct 16, 2017
[Quebec’s Bill 62 was approved on October 18. It is inspired by the official ‘secularism’ in France which, in reality, is neo-colonialism in ‘secular’ garb. The opposition parties in the Quebec National Assembly are opposing the law for different reasons. The two right-wing parties–the nationalist Parti québecois and Coalition avenir Québec–want the Parti liberal government to ditch the ‘reasonable accomodation’ clause in Bill 62. An August 15, 2017 report in the Montreal Gazette describes reasonable accomodation as follows:
Demand for reasonable accommodation for cases involving religious rights would be treated if:
* It is serious
* It respects gender equality
* It respects government religious neutrality
* If it is reasonable, meaning that it doesn’t impose any excessive constraints on individuals and takes into consideration the rights of the other parties involved, their health and security, the proper functioning of an organization, and the costs related to it
[The moderate left-wing party Québec solidaire voted against Bill 62 because it says those targetted by the new law already face much social and human rights discrimination. In the final National Assembly debate on Bill 62 on October 17, party leader Amir Khadir said his party will vote ‘no’ “notwithstanding the fact we would prefer to do otherwise”. Khadir says Québec solidaire would like to see a charter of secularism in Quebec along the lines of the recommendations in the report of the Bouchard Taylor Commission delivered in 2008. The commission’s formal name was ‘Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences’; background to it is here and here. Earlier this year, Québec solidaire proposed an ammendment to the law that the Christian cross which adorns the Quebec National Assembly be removed; the resolution was defeated. The party is proposing that the estimated $100 million of annual government subsidy to private (including religion-based) schools be phased out. As of October 17, the party’s website makes little direct mention of Bill 62.]
News and analysis:
* Bill 62 would mean no face coverings on the bus, minister confirms, by Philip Authier, Montreal Gazette, Oct 17, 2017
* Does Quebec need a ‘charter of secularism’?, by Québec solidaire member Benoit Renaud, June 13, 2013
Quebec and its niqab legislation needs to stay out of women’s closets, op-ed commentary by Shree Paradkar, Toronto Star, Oct 17, 2017
… Bill 62, labelled as “an act to foster adherence to state religious neutrality,” is the face of contemporary dog whistle anti-Islamic politics couched as a unique commitment to secularism. Just leave that crucifix hanging on the wall behind the Quebec parliamentary speaker’s chair, please. That’s historical…
The racist, anti-French mobs that burned down homes and Canada’s Parliament building in Montreal in 1849, Wikipedia
[The hidden history of Canada’s anti-French racist mobs in Montreal in 1849 has come to light as a result of the archaeological dig at the site of the Parliament building torched in the city that year. Ongoing English mob threats in 1849 prompted a move of the capital of the United Province of Canada from Montreal to Toronto. The United Province of Canada was formed in 1841 in the wake of the democracy rebellions of 1837-38 in order to diminish the rights of French-speaking settlers in the British colony of Lower Canada (the future Quebec). The formation of Canada in 1867 saw Ontario and Quebec established as distinct provinces with their own provincial assemblies.]
The drug industry’s triumph over the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency: Special reporting by The Washington Post and CBS ’60 Minutes’, report by Scott Higham and Lenny Bernstein, in Washington Post, Oct 15, 2017
In April 2016, at the height of the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history, Congress effectively stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics onto the nation’s streets. By then, the opioid war had claimed 200,000 lives, more than three times the number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam War. Overdose deaths continue to rise. There is no end in sight…
* DEA responds to explosive ’60 Minutes’ report about opioid crisis, CBS News, Oct 16, 2017
* Trump pick for drug czar Tom Marino pulls out after CBC/Wa Po report details his role in sabotaging bill to control opioid sales, The Guardian, Oct 17, 2017
* The secretive family that own Oxycontin and makes billions from the opioid crisis, Esquire, Oct 18, 2017
BC drug overdose deaths to end-August 2017 now surpass total for all of 2016, CBC News, Oct 12, 2017
The British Columbia Coroner’s Service says the number of overdose deaths in the province during the first eight months of this year has surpassed the total number of overdose deaths in all of 2016.
The service says in the first eight months of 2017, 1,013 people died from a suspected illicit drug overdose. The corresponding number in 2016 was 922. Preliminary data says there were 113 suspected drug overdose deaths in August 2017 [nearly 80 per cent higher than August 2016]…
U.S. drug overdose (drug poisoning) deaths hit 64,000 in 2016, report in New York Times, Sept 2, 2017
[There were 64,000 drug overdose (poisoning) deaths in the United States in 2016 according to the U.S. government National Center for Health Statistics. That’s up 22 per cent since 2015 and 540 per cent since 2011. About one third of 2016 deaths were attributable to the opium derivative fentanyl. That same year, there were 944 drug poisoning deaths in British Columbia, a higher death rate than in the U.S. The U.S.-equivalent death total in BC for 2016 was 70,000 (the U.S. population is 75 times that of BC). Drug poisoning deaths in BC to end-July 2017 are 876; that’s an annualized total of 1,500.
For Bombardier employees in Belfast, ‘America first’ amounts to ‘Northern Ireland last’, New York Times, Oct 10, 2017
Related: Boeing lands another victory against Bombardier, but taxpayers are the real losers, by Eric Reguly, Europe columnist, Globe and Mail, Oct 6, 2017
Canada’s farm industries look to expand international sales, will depend more and more on temporary foreign workers to do so, by Jennifer Wells, Toronto Star, Oct 6, 2017
In the same series: This sexually abused migrant worker is now safe — but she knows others aren’t, by Sara Mojtehedzadeh, work and wealth reporter, Toronto Star, Oct 7, 2017; and He’s worked legally in Canada for 37 years but the government considers him ‘temporary’, by Nicholas Keung, immigration reporter, Toronto Star, Oct. 5, 2017
More turmoil in National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls as more directors resign, CBC News, Oct 7, 2017
… Sheila North Wilson, grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, has renewed a previous call she’s made for commission head Marian Buller to step down. She said the tone of the controversial long-awaited inquiry has been set by Buller and led to serious problems on the file. Families with missing and murdered loved ones are fed up and some want a complete reset on the inquiry.
… The RCMP pegged the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada at just under 1,200 in a 2014 report, but many — including members of the current Liberal government — believe that number is flawed and may actually be as high as 4,000.
Six facts you need to know about Ottawa’s tax reforms, by David Olive, Toronto Star, Oct 7, 2017
The debate over Ottawa’s tax reforms has been marred by a proliferation of falsehoods akin to the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Here are the facts.
U.S. secretly tested carcinogen in Western Canada during the Cold War, researcher finds, by Victor Ferreira, National Post, October 6, 2017 The U.S. Army secretly dumped a carcinogen on unknowing Canadians in Winnipeg and Alberta during the Cold War in testing linked to weaponry involving radioactive components meant to attack the Soviet Union, according to classified documents revealed in a new book, ‘Behind the Fog: How the U.S. Cold War Radiological Weapons Program Exposed Innocent Americans‘, by author Lisa Martino-Taylor.
Controversy in Sidney Crosby’s home town of Halifax as NHL hockey champs snub fellow NFL and NBA athletes with plan to parade in Trump White House, by Michael MacDonald, Canadian Press, Sept 27, 2017
Related: Sidney Crosby should have done better, commentary by El Jones, in VICE News, Sept 26, 2017
… The fantasy about Canada as a haven from anti-black racism should be put to rest by the UN report [Sept 25, 2017] that details all the ways, from slavery until today, black people have faced injustice in Canada. Crosby himself grew up in a province where black hockey players, descendants of slaves, once pioneered the sport. In Cole Harbour, where he was born, there have been two “race riots” in his own lifetime at the high school… [El Jones, Wikipedia]
Vancouver’s homeless count up 30 per cent in three years, CBC News, Sept 26, 2017
[Upon election to his first term as Vancouver mayor in 2008, green capitalist Gregor Robertson promised to end homelessness in the city by 2015. He failed in that goal, largely because provincial and federal governments don’t care about providing shelter; they are there to serve the property speculators and wealthy home buyers that have driven Canada’s dizzying house price spiral, with Vancouver at the pinnacle of the spiral. Concerns about First Nations rights are very fashionable these days in Ottawa and provincial capitals, but while Indigenous people are only 2.5 per cent of the population of Vancouver region, they are 34 per cent of the homeless population. That just one of a thousand similar statistics showing that Canada’s colonial past remains very much present in the social, economic and political status of Indigenous people.
[Parallel to Canada’s housing crisis is its grim descent into an opioid drug addiction (poisoning) crisis. In British Columbia, there were 944 opioid poisoning deaths in 2016. That number will be surpassed in 2017; by the end of July, there were 876 drug poisoning deaths. A key culprit in the deaths is the decades-old, failed ‘war on drugs’ of the federal and provincial governments, egged on by police agencies. Notwithstanding the quasi-legalization of marijuana possession planned by Ottawa, the ‘war on drugs’ continues relentlessly.]
Bombardier tumbles on new blow to $6 billion bet-the-company jet, Bloomberg News, Sept 26, 2017
Britain’s May ‘bitterly disappointed’ by Bombardier ruling as jobs threatened, Globe and Mail, Sept 27, 2017
How NAFTA’s Chapter 19 could save Bombardier’s C Series jet, Globe and Mail, Sept 26, 2017
U.S. proposals on labour standards fall short of Canada’s NAFTA goals, Globe and Mail, Sept 26, 2017
UN Human Rights Council to discuss report on anti-Black racism in Canada, will recommend federal gov’t apology for history of slavery, Canadian Press, Sept 24, 2017
RCMP agrees to return to Métis people stolen artifacts dating from 1884-85 Northwest (Riel) Rebellion, CBC News, Sept 23, 2017
‘It is, I believe, the first of many steps to come for our broader movement toward self-determination.’
Canada imposes sanctions on key Venezuelan officials, Reuters, Sept 22, 2017
40 individuals, including President Nicolas Maduro, targeted
The odd merger of Bombardier and the Canadian government, by Andrew Coyne, columnist, The National Post, Sept 22, 2017
It is increasingly clear amid the current Bombardier- Boeing dispute that the federal government, at least, views itself and Bombardier as being one and the same
Canada to add Ukraine to permitted weapons export list, Canadian Press, Sept 22, 2017
Opposition MPs urge Morneau to extend tax proposals to family trusts, by Robert Fife and Steven Chase, Globe and Mail, Sept 21, 2017
… The NDP, which had been sitting on the fence over the small-business changes, called on Wednesday for a 75-day extension to the Oct. 2 deadline for public consultations on changes to business taxation and to expand it to include complex tax loopholes used by rich Canadians.
[Small businesses, with doctors (!) in the lead, are fighting against proposed changes to federal tax laws that would make it harder for them to avoid paying taxes.But the Liberal government may have opened a pandora’s box as attention shifts to how the wealthy Canadians, including Prime Minister Trudeau and Finance Minister Morneau, use ‘family trusts’ to avoid paying taxes. See: Trudeau dodges questions about taxes on his family wealth, by Robert Fife and Steven Chase, Globe and Mail, Sept 20, 2017 and Trudeau pledges to push through tax fairness agenda and defends own family’s use of tax rules, CBC News, Sept 19, 2017. See also: Insanely concentrated wealth is strangling U.S. prosperity, by Steve Roth, published on his blog Evonomics, Sept 18, 2017.]
Trudeau signals shift that would have Canada joining the U.S. ‘ballistic missile defence’ boondoggle, report by Bruce Campion-Smith, Toronto Star, Sept 19, 2017
[Following Donald Trump’s crazed threat at the United Nations on September 19 to “totally destroy” the country and people of North Korea (news report in New York Times), Justin Trudeau told a news conference in Ottawa the same day, “I share everyone’s concern over the reckless behaviour by the North Korean regime, and continue to believe that working with partners and allies in the region and around the world . . . is the best way to de-escalate this situation. As for what the president may have said, I look forward to seeing his speech myself.”
[Military leaders, Liberal and Conservative members of Parliament, and mainstream journalists are egging on the Liberal government to join an unproven ‘North American missile defense’. The Star‘s Bruce Campion-Smith writes: “Under an August 2004 amendment to its mission, Canadians at NORAD headquarters can interpret U.S. satellite and radar data about incoming missiles and transfer it to officials at the missile defence system, the United States Northern Command. That means Canadians could track an incoming missile but be left on the sidelines during the discussion about how to respond.” ‘Missile defense’ is not only unproven, it is a grave escalation of the danger of nuclear war.
[Mainstream Canadian journalists writing about the U.S. escalation of threats against Korea can’t resist genuflecting before those in power. Whatever criticism they might have of Donald Trump, they reassure readers that yes, the leaders whom Trump and the U.S. regime disfavour–particularly those of North Korea and Venezuela–are, indeed, “dictators”, “madmen”, etc, etc. Loyalty established, they go on to fret whether the Trump monstrosity isn’t going “too far” in his rhetoric and threats.]
France eager to have Canada join peacekeeping efforts in Mali, by Tonda MacCharles, Toronto Star, Sept 19, 2017
[Asked at a news conference in Ottawa on Sept 19 why Canada has not committed its 600 soldiers for the talked-about expeditionary mission to Mali, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau replied, “We are going to make the right choice about how Canada can best help in engaging in international peacekeeping, and when we make that determination, we will let you know.”]
Federal gov’t bill will give police the power to conduct random, roadside breath testing, by Brian Platt, National Post, Sept 18, 2017
Canada won’t do business with Boeing while it’s ‘busy trying to sue us’, Trudeau says, by Lee Berthiaume, Canadian Press, Sept 18, 2017 [could also be titled: ‘Justin Trudeau, CEO of Bombardier Inc, er, Prime Minister of Canada’]. Related item: Trudeau threatens to not buy Boeing fighter jets to protest firm’s trade complaint, by Tonda MacCharles, page one report in Toronto Star, Sept 18, 2017
… “We won’t do business with a company [Boeing] that’s busy trying to sue us [sic] and trying to put our aerospace workers out of business.”
Trudeau was appearing alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May, who said Canada and the UK would work together to defend Bombardier, which has a factory in Northern Ireland…
On finance minister Bill Morneau’s tax reform plan, column by Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, Sept 18, 2017 [Small businessmen, including doctors, are up in arms over a federal government plan to reduce the many tax loopholes which allow them to avoid paying taxes. This modest column by Thomas Walkom is the best of a thin collection of commentary to date analyzing the proposed changes.]
Background on how the wealthy in Canada avoid paying taxes:
In Ontario, richest ten per cent take home more money than the bottom 60 per cent of all families combined, Press Progress, Sept 6, 2017 (based on the August 2017 report by the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, ‘Losing Ground: Income inequality in Ontario 2000-2015‘.)
Canada’s tax system is still subsidizing the ultrarich, by Dennis Howlett, The Tyee, June 6, 2017 (Dennis Howlett is executive director of Canadians for Tax Fairness)
Preferential Treatment: The History and Cost of Tax Exemptions, Credits, and Loopholes in Canada, report by David Macdonald, published by the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives, May 25, 2017
In 2016, Canadian corporations had $261 billion invested in overseas tax havens, undated report (sometime in 2017) by Canadians for Tax Fairness
[The other legal challenge to Canada’s solitary confinement policy is taking place in a Vancouver courtroom. That action is by the BC Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society. Government lawyers first sought to delay the trials. Now they say that UN rules prohibiting prolonged use of solitary confinement, to which Canada is a signatory, don’t apply in Canada because the prison system “doesn’t practice” solitary confinement. The federal government and prison officials call it “administrative segregation”.]
More drumbeat for Canada to join U.S. in ‘missile defense’, news report by Lee Berthiaume, Canadian Press, Sept 14, 2017
[Canada’s top military representative to the NORAD alliance with the U.S. is the latest military leader to tell Canadian Parliamentarians that Canada should join the decades-old and failed ‘missile defense’ program of the United States. Be afraid, very afraid. Or not. Spending on North American ‘missile defense’ goes back many decades and has not produced a system that can destroy flying missiles.
[Canadian journalists also want Canada to pony up; the latest being John Ivison in a scaremongering column in the National Post on Sept 14. The Post headline reads, ‘U.S. policy is not to defend Canada’ from a missile attack (citing a U.S. military chief), while the sub-headline reads, Canada at mercy of a dictator’s whim, referring to the president of North Korea. The journalist writes, “… Canada is, and looks destined to remain, defenseless from ballilstic missile attack.”
[Academics are chining in, too, with Charles Burton penning his latest, hawkish column in the Sept 15 Globe and Mail. (The professor explains that China risks being attacked by North Korea if it doesn’t join the West in attacking North Korea!) The real story of military tensions on the Korean peninsula is the decades-long effort by the United States and its allies to undermine and overthrow the sovereignty of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. But you won’t read that in the National Post or Globe and Mail.]
Canada still pondering targets for an expanded, foreign intervention military force, report by Tonda MacCharles on Toronto Star, Sept 12, 2017
The Star has previously reported the options prepared for cabinet last year suggested a deployment at the upper range of those numbers  would have the greatest impact and offer the best chance of success. At the time the French government, under president Francois Hollande, was pressing hard for Canada to send its soldiers into Mali…
[Defense Minister Harjit] Sajjan said he wants any Canadian mission or missions to make a long-term difference using Canadian expertise on reducing “violence against women and how we’re going to reduce the child soldiers that are being recruited.” …
Cost of buying new fighter jets from Boeing pegged at more than $6 billion, report by David Pugliese in National Post, Sept 12, 2017
Related news: Canada, U.K. step up pressure on Boeing to resolve commercial dispute with Bombardier, CBC News, Sept 12, 2017. Bombardier aerospace workers in Montreal to hold rally on Sept 14 backing their company in commercial dispute with Boeing, by David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen, Sept 12, 2017
Montreal removes street name of colonial-era, genocidal British General Amherst and adds First Nations symbol to city flag, by Ingrid Peretz, Globe and Mail, Sept 13, 2017
Toronto food manufacturer fined $300,000 for death of worker one year ago, is under intense scrutiny following undercover reporting in Toronto Star, by Sarah Mojtehedzadeh and and Brendan Kennedy, Toronto Star, Sept 9, 2017
Undercover in the world of super-exploited temporary workers in Canada, feature report by Sarah Mojtehedzadeh and and Brendan Kennedy, Toronto Star, Sept 9, 2017
… In workplaces around the province, the use of temp agencies limits companies’ liability for accidents on the job, reduces their responsibility for employees’ rights, and cuts costs.
… When I walk into the factory, I see mostly people of colour. Many are new Canadians. Many told me they have taken this job for one reason: to survive.
… Overall in Ontario, temporary jobs — which include but are not limited to temp agency jobs — have grown at more than four times the rate of permanent jobs since the 2008 recession, according to Statistics Canada. In food manufacturing work, temp jobs have skyrocketed by 110 per cent in Toronto in the past 10 years. Permanent ones have increased by less than 3 per cent…
… Three temp agency workers have died at Fiera or its affiliated companies.
Canada’s state-run broadcaster turns its war advocacy attention to North Korea
[For several years already, Canada’s state-run broadcaster, the CBC, has taken its cue from its paymaster, the Canadian government, and been advocating war preparations against Russia. Now it is turning its attention to North Korea. In its broadcast of Sept 6, 2017, the CBC weekday newsmagazine program ‘The Current’ interviews two guests from right-wing think tanks in the United States advocating nuclear escalation on the Korean peninsula. Over at the weekly, Saturday interview program ‘The House’, the Sept 9 edition of the program features an interview with the former chief of staff of the Canadian armed forces, Tom Lawson. He wants Canada to spend millions, maybe billions, to join a decades-old, untried and unproven ‘U.S. missile defense shield’ for North America. What you, most decidedly, will not hear on CBC is any information about the history of U.S. (and Canadian) aggression on the Korean peninsula (Korean War of 1950-53, and ever since), how this caused Korea to be divided into two countries, and why this has led the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) to take extraordinary measures to prevent a Libya-Iraq-Syria-you name it-style ‘regime change’ intervention against it.]
Yes to star wars, says Toronto Star editorial board, editorial in Toronto Star, Sept 6, 2017
‘Everything that’s been tried so far to stop North Korea’s nukes-and-missiles program hasn’t worked. Building a system [‘missile defense’] aimed at neutralizing this threat is at least worth trying.’
Back to Star Wars for Canada’s pro-military pundits
[Canada’s pro-military ideologues are using the conflict in Korea to renew calls for Canada to join a long-dreamed but scarcely-realized ‘North American missile defense’ system. Such a system has been a dream of U.S. military planners for decades, including President Ronald Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ program that helped to kill detente with the Soviet Union in the day. Billions of dollars have been spent over the decades, but there is little to show for it, as The National Interest, a conservative publication, reports. The Union of Concerned Scientists has practical as well as moral objections. But what do they know? National Post columnist Andrew Coyne (Sept 4) and former Canadian general and now member of Canada’s appointed Senate Romeo Dallaire (Aug 24) want you to join them in looking forward to a glorious future of missiles and war. Why negotiate with North Korea to eliminate tensions when endless aggression and billions of dollars of spending on illusory ‘missile defense’ can be had? You can read about the long and expensive record of failed ‘North American missile defense’ here on Wikipedia.]
Toronto’s commuter rail network Metrolinx freely shares passenger travel records with police, report in Toronto Star, Sept 9, 2017
A new hole in Syria-Sarin certainty, by Robert Parry, Consortium News, Sept 8, 2017
[The page-one headline of the Toronto Star on Sept 8 is an article lifted from the New York Times: ‘The fake Americans that Russia created to influence the election’. So we bring you this report by Robert Parry examining the Times‘ shabby record on fake chemical weapons attacks in Syria.]
Bill Morneau, enraged doctors and the difficult art of tax reform targetting the wealthy, by Thomas Walkom, columnist, Toronto Star, Sept 8, 2017
Communications Security Establishment-Canada’s rigged ‘Russia election’ scare an excuse to invade our privacy, by Matthew Behrens, Rabble.ca, Sept 7, 2017
Alarming doubling of death rate in British Columbia’s drug overdose crisis, by Sunny Dhillon, Globe and Mail, Sept 8, 2017[The BC Coroners Service reports 876 suspected drug overdose deaths in BC through the first seven months of 2017, compared to 482 deaths in the same period of 2016. That’s an average of four deths per day. But the death cult known as the Canadian government refuses to decriminalize drugs and treat drug addiction as a public health emergency, as Portugal has done successfully since 2001. See also: Doctors in BC say Canada has a drug ‘poisoning’, not ‘overdose’, crisis, CBC News, Sept 2, 2017. ]
Canada’s new warships program balloons to $62 billion, report by David Pugliese in The National Post, Sept 7, 2017
“… The program calls for the construction of 15 ships. The original budget for the program was $26.2 billion, or $1.7 billion per ship for 15 ships. But parliamentary budget officer Jean-Denis Fréchette estimates the program will cost $61.82 billion, or $4.1 billion per ship…”
[Canada’s antiwar movement is expected to vigorously oppose the grotesque expenditure on warships as poverty grows and the need to mitigate global warming becomes glaringly evident… No, wait, there is no antiwar movement and there are no protests; turns out that anti-Russia hysteria has succeeded in changing the narrative.]
Liberals government threats won’t deter Boeing from pursuing its trade dispute with Bombardier, by Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press, Sept 5, 2017
[In a case of the pot calling the kettle black, militarized corporate welfare case Boeing points to the extensive corporate welfare that has made Bombardier Inc. a Canadian capitalist success story. The Liberals enjoy a free hand in Canadian public opinion as they prepare to spend billions of dollars on new fighter jets; they are using that plan to pressure Boeing to back off.]
Toronto Star columnist mocks concern over Canada’s racist and genocidal history, column by Rosie DiManno, Toronto Star, Sept 6, 2017 [headline in print edition: ‘Making mountains of pedestals’]
[Comparing the common usage in Canada of an anglicized version of the name of Italian colonial explorer John Cabot]: ‘This could be condemned as a very early appropriation of an Italian accomplishment by Anglo Saxon culture…. If I were that sort of anachronous jackass, wailing and bemoaning over the injustices done to my peeps, from centuries ago to current ethnically insensitive textbooks. If I had endless whinges to pick. If I demanded an apology for Italians interned in Canada during World War II as enemy aliens…’
‘And, honestly, I don’t much care. Most people, I’m quite certain, don’t much care, not even about the symbolism inherent in monuments erected to extol Confederate leaders such a General Robert E. Lee… ‘Just stop shouting, Jesus H. Christ. Stop assuming the moral superiority on everything. Stop making mountains out of pedestals.’
[The Toronto Star columnist is too ignorant or too uncaring to know that the large majority of Confederate statues and symbols have nothing to do with commemorating the Civil War, per se. They were erected in the 20th century as part of the ‘Jim Crow’ counter-revolution seeking to block social gains by Black people freed from slavery at the Civil War’s end. For example, directors of the Washington Cathedral have decided to remove two stained glass panels featuring Confederate generals Robert E Lee and Stonewall Jackson. The panels were installed in 1953.]
Op-ed in Toronto Star calls for overthrow of North Korean government.
[An op-ed commentary in the Toronto Star on Sept 3 says Canada should join the U.S. in invading North Korea and overthrowing its government. The author is Charles Burton, an associate professor of political science at Brock University in St. Catharines and former counsellor at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing. He also wants Canada to pony up for a very costly ‘North American missile defense’ program. Here is how the author pretties up Canada’s participation in the near-genocidal war of 1950-53 against the Korean people: “Sixty-seven years ago, Canada made a military commitment to defend South Korea against North Korean and Chinese military aggression…” The learned professor needs to go back to school to learn that ‘North’ and ‘South’ Korea did not exist in 1950-53. As in Vietnam in 1954, Korea was forcibly divided by the imperialist countries when they could not win their war of aggression and conquest. Kkorea’s division was codified in the 1953 armistice agreement ending war. Even then, the U.S. has not signed the armistice to this day. For a serious history of the current standoff in Korea, read: How ‘regime change’ wars led to Korea crisis, by Robert Parry, Consortium News, Sept 4, 2017.]
[The Trump administration in the U.S. is threatening to end the temporary visa status of tens of thousands of political and economic refugees from Haiti who were granted the status by the preceding Obama regime. Several thousand of those threatened by the change have recently migrated to Canada and claimed refugee status. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has told the Haitian asylum seekers that they are not welcome, going so far as to send emissaries to Miami to deliver that message. An editorialist at the state-run CBC has written that Canada should change its refugee procedure in order to refuse Haitian claimants.]
Looking to move beyond the Indian Act, can Canada shed its ‘colonial structures?‘, by Joe Friesen, Globe and Mail, Sept 2, 2017
[Big business interests in Canada are concluding that their neo-colonial and quasi-genocidal policies of the past towards First Nations people must give way to business partnerships, especially in resource extraction.]
Welcoming Haitian refugees to Canada isn’t about generosity but justice, by Martin Lukacs, The Guardian, Aug 29, 2017
[This is the only substantive commentary published to date in Canada to expose the hypocrisy of the Canadian government for refusing to welcome the wave of Haitian asylum seekers fleeing threatened deportation from the United States. Canada was fully part of the failure of the 2010 earthquake aid regime. That failure is part of the continuum of imperialist domination of Haiti throughout the 20th century. Canada was an active participant in the 2004 coup in Haiti that overthrew the country’s elected president and its elected senate and legislature. The entire political and foreign aid establishment in Canada was and remains complicit in the coup and complicit in the post-2010 earthquake aid failure.]
Related: Six month delay for Trump plan to end/change DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], report on New York Times, Sept 3, 2017
[In the May 2017 election, the New Democratic Party promised it would bring in $15… by 2021! Now, even that is scrapped. The scrapping was done at the request of the Green Party, whose three members of the BC legislature are supporting the minority NDP government. NDP Labour Minister Harry Bains was first elected in 2005; before that he was a longtime official of the Steelworkers Union. The Liberal gov’t in Ontario and the NDP gov’t in Alberta say they will stick to plans for $15 by 2019. That is already paltry, but it beats the sad story in BC. This is what failure to build a genuine party of the left delivers. More reason for do-nothing: Canada’s trade unions and left-wing are standing around and watching with baited breath to see which of the tepid candidates in the federal NDP leadership contest will win.]
UN solitary-confinement rules aren’t binding in Canadian prisons, Canadian gov’t lawyer argues, The Globe and Mail, Aug 31, 2017
[Two seperate court cases are challenging the widespread use of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons. The indiscriminate use of the practice is defined by the UN as torture. One of the court cases, brought by the John Howard Society and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, is currently being heard in a BC court. A Canadian government lawyer in the case told the court on August 31 that although Canada is a signator to UN conventions on the treatment of prisoners, these don’t necessarily apply within its prisons. He was referring specifically to the ‘Nelson Mandela Rules’ approved by the UN General Assembly in December 2015 (‘United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners‘, 33 pages). Canada accepted the Nelson Mandela Rules at the time of their approval, but now it is signalling, ‘Ha ha, we were just kidding.’ Rules 43, 44 and 45 of the Nelson Mandela Rules apply to solitary confinement. In 2015-16, 65 prisoners died in Canadian federal prisons. From 2001-2002 to 2010-2011, 530 prisoners died in federal custody, of which 92 were suicides.]